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Oilers Foundation and Ryan Whitney spreads the gift of literacy

by Andrea Goss / Edmonton Oilers

“She got a glass of warm water and a spoon, and went across the backyard, down the hill, to the frozen bumpy river. She used the water and the spoon to make a very small hockey rink,” read Edmonton Oilers Ryan Whitney from Just One Goal.

Books have the unique ability to stir the senses, inspire the imagination and spark a love of reading in young minds. On Thursday afternoon, Edmonton Oilers defenceman Ryan Whitney joined the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation (EOCF) to help spread the gift of literacy and launch the fifth year of the Share A Book program.

Whitney joined the Grade 1 class and their Grade 5 buddies in the library and read aloud from the hockey classic.

“I got a book about a rat [Subway Mouse] and the same book that the Oilers got to read [Just One Goal],” said Monet, a Grade 1 student at Lauderdale. “I really like it because I really like hockey and I like skating. I can’t wait till I get home to read this book.”

The Share A Book program - funded in part through the Edmonton Journal’s Raise a Reader program and through EOCF initiatives - provides two new books and a book bag to Grade 1 students whose families may not otherwise be able to start a library for their children at home. Each year, 5,000 books are distributed to 2,500 young readers and this year’s titles included Just One Goal by Robert Munsch and Subway Mouse by Barbara Reid. Since its inception, the program has distributed 25,000 books to students in Edmonton and surrounding areas.

“I think the program’s important. I remember my parents always telling me to read growing up and I think the more books you get it’s easier to do,” said Whitney.

For more information on the Share A Book program, please visit

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